School Closings And Delays

Deliberations Begin in Case of Accused Cop Killer

MILFORD -- The jury is deliberating in the murder case against accused cop killer Eric Frein. Closing arguments began Wednesday morning in Pike County court.

Newswatch 16 was outside the courthouse as people started arriving. They included family members of Corporal Bryon Dickson. He died during the ambush at the Blooming Grove barracks in 2014. Also in court was Trooper Alex Douglass who was severely wounded during the attack. The parents of Eric Frein are also in court.

Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin's closing argument lasted an hour and a half.

The prosecutor started by saying, "with murder in his heart, plan in his mind and a rifle in his hand, the defendant slithered through the woods under cover of darkness that September night. 87 yards away from the barracks, he waited to strike."

Speaking of Cpl. Dickson, Tonkin said, "his service expired. The defendant decided to end that service because he wore a uniform."

Jurors took one final look at the copious amount of evidence against Frein who faces charges including first-degree murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.

If convicted of first-degree murder, the same jury will decide if Frein should be sentenced to death or spend life in prison.

Frein's attorneys appear to be more focused now on saving his life if he should be found guilty on all charges.

"We want them to know he's human, that he has all the qualities of human beings as well, want them to see background who he is, who his family is, that sort of thing," explained his attorney Michael Weinstein.

The prosecution rested its case Tuesday just before noon. Their final witness was a forensic pathologist who described the gunshot wounds that killed Corporal Bryon Dickson.

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The defense rested without calling any witnesses.

"There has to be a defense that is based in fact and it doesn't appear to me that they had any factual basis for a defense," commented Tonkin.

"We did cross-examine those witnesses we thought warranted cross-examination and only on these issues that we thought were cross-examinable. A lot of this was technical," Weinstein explained.

There were a lot of people in Milford Wednesday, both media and spectators, for closing arguments and deliberations.

We spoke to some people who live in the area who are surprised it only took about 11 days from opening statements to the jury getting the case.

Seth O'Hanian has walked past the Pike County Courthouse in Milford every day for the past three weeks. He took a second walk down from his house after he found out the jury had the case against accused cop killer Eric Frein.

"There's action today, but it's been pretty mellow though I think for three weeks or for however long it's been going," said O'Hanian.

O'Hanian says over the past two years, whenever Eric Frein is inside the Pike County Courthouse, downtown Milford gets busier with media outlets and spectators. He wasn't surprised when he saw extra trucks parked on Broad Street near the courthouse. What did surprise him was how quickly the trial moved.

"I thought they were going to give some sort of defense, but there isn't much of a defense you can give other than he's crazy," O'Hanian added.

Olivia O'Hanian came from New York state to visit her father. She wanted to see the crowd of people waiting for the verdict.

"I think it's insane. My dad told me briefly about what is going on and it's insane," she said.

Joseph Steffani from Dingmans Ferry says crews searched for the accused cop killer near his home back in September of 2014. He came to see that justice was served.

"He did something pretty horrific and so I want to see him pay the ultimate price for it. I'm tired of people running around just slaughtering innocent people. I think it's time this nonsense ends and he's got to be held accountable," said Steffani.

If Frein is convicted of first-degree murder, the trial will move to the penalty phase and the jury will decide if Frein should be sentenced to death or to life in prison.

11 comments

  • terri

    I would like to know what the total cost to the taxpayers was and is. We endured a 48 day manhunt and a jury from another county. What is the final total to the taxpayer

  • Just a Guy

    Everyone says Frein is set up. Personally, I do not agree with this. If that cop did something to Frein, there was still no reason to kill him. Nor shoot and injure the other cop. Kiling an officer of the law, in most cases, should be ended with the suspect’s death, if proven guilty. I believe Frein did in fact shoot the officers, and because of that, should have the same fate as the Dallas shooter.

  • kris

    Eric frein lawyer was off line last nite corp. Dickson is also a human and Eric should get it for killing and hurting the troopers.

  • AUGIE

    Really intense this morning. Frein stood up and screamed “Let me take the stand”. He then mumbled something about a Turkish Prison I couldn’t hear clearly. First reaction of him losing his cool I witnessed since day 1.

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